Richard Worth

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The Honourable Dr
Richard Worth
OBE, KStJ, VRD, PhD, MJur, MBA
Richard Worth, New Zealand MP.jpg
Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
19 November 2008 – 2 June 2009
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Rick Barker
Succeeded by Nathan Guy[1]
Minister for Land Information
In office
19 November 2008 – 2 June 2009
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by David Parker
Succeeded by Maurice Williamson[1]
Minister Responsible for the National Library
In office
19 November 2008 – 2 June 2009
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Judith Tizard
Succeeded by Maurice Williamson (acting)
Nathan Guy
Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand
In office
19 November 2008 – 2 June 2009
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Judith Tizard
Succeeded by Maurice Williamson (acting)
Nathan Guy
Associate Minister of Justice
In office
19 November 2008 – 2 June 2009
Prime Minister John Key
Leader Simon Power
Preceded by Rick Barker, Lianne Dalziel, Clayton Cosgrove
Succeeded by Maurice Williamson (acting)
Nathan Guy
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for National Party List
In office
2005–2009
Succeeded by Cam Calder
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Epsom
In office
1999–2005
Preceded by Christine Fletcher
Succeeded by Rodney Hide
Personal details
Born 1948
Nationality New Zealand
Political party National Party
Occupation Lawyer, naval officer
Cabinet Cabinet of New Zealand

Richard Westwood Worth, OBE, KStJ, VRD (born 3 July 1948), is a former New Zealand politician. He was a member of the National Party parliamentary caucus until he resigned on Friday 12 June 2009.

Background[edit]

Born in Auckland, Worth obtained an LLB (Hons) and Master of Jurisprudence (First Class) from the University of Auckland and a Master of Business Administration (Distinction) from Massey University.[2] He has had a career in law and management, and has been active in a wide range of organisations and associations, including the Order of St. John and the Naval Reserves with the rank of Captain and the role of Chief of Naval Reserves from 1 July 1990 until 2 July 1994.[3] He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1994 New Year Honours,[4] and, in 2008, a Knight of the Order of St John.[5] Before entering Parliament he was the chairman of Simpson Grierson, one of New Zealand's larger law firms. He was the Consul for Colombia, and later, the honorary Consul for Monaco.

He obtained a Ph.D. from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) with a thesis entitled The Closer Economic Relationship Between Australia and New Zealand: choices other than quiescence or withdrawal in the face of conflict? completed in 2004.[6]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1999–2002 46th Epsom 44 National
2002–2005 47th Epsom 25 National
2005–2008 48th List 24 National
2008–2011 49th List 25 National

Worth entered Parliament when he successfully stood as the National Party's candidate for the Auckland seat of Epsom in the 1999 election with a majority of 1,908. He was re-elected in the 2002 election with an increased majority of 5,619.

He lost his electorate seat in the 2005 election to the ACT New Zealand leader Rodney Hide. This was the result of a tactical voting message from Hide who had called on National voters to support him in order to elect a coalition partner for National, as otherwise ACT was unlikely either to win an electorate seat or to gain the five percent of the nationwide vote which would guarantee it list seats. Worth was however elected as a list MP. National's party vote in Epsom was the highest of any electorate in the country.[7]

When John Key became National Party leader in November 2006, Worth relinquished his Justice and Auckland Issues spokesperson portfolios, and was given the portfolio for Economic Development.

Worth was re-elected on the party list in the 2008 general elections. National's highest party vote was again secured in Epsom.[8]

On 19 November 2008, Worth became Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Land Information, Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Minister Responsible for the National Library and Associate Minister of Justice.

In March 2009 a perceived conflict of interest arose following a private trip to India.[9][10] Worth later disengaged from his Indian business interests and stepped down as chair of the New Zealand India Trade Group. Worth took the trip under a diplomatic passport,[11] something normally reserved for official trips.

Issues[edit]

Worth's maiden speech in February 2000 focused on trade, economics and Asia.[12]

While a member of the opposition, Worth was a strong opponent of the Civil Union Act 2004, proposing a significant amendent which would have created a second class of relationships.[13][14][15][16]

As Minister for Land Information he introduced the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Bill,[17] which has yet to be passed.[18]

Resignation[edit]

On 3 June 2009 Prime Minister John Key issued a press release[19] announcing Richard Worth had resigned as a minister for personal reasons and that there would be no further comment. Soon after, the New Zealand Police issued a statement[20] saying an allegation had been made against a sitting MP and that they were beginning a preliminary investigation. At a subsequent press conference Key said the resignation resulted from a criminal investigation into a "relatively recent" incident, and had Worth not resigned he would have been sacked.[21]

Key subsequently referred to an unrelated and resolved allegation related to "making a nuisance of himself toward women." He said the current instance was serious enough to warrant criminal investigation. He said Worth's conduct did not befit a Cabinet Minister in his administration, that he would not have Worth in Cabinet, and that he had lost confidence in Worth as a Cabinet Minister. The New Zealand Herald indicated that the Prime Minister had known about the current allegations at the centre of Worth's resignation for the preceding fortnight.[22][23]

According to the woman at the center of the second allegation, later identified as Neelam Choudary, an active member of the New Zealand Labour Party, Worth first contacted her on 26 November 2008, and altogether, forty texts and sixty telephone calls ensued, until they ceased on 23 February 2009. Choudary, an ethnic Indian, was allegedly offered a job as an ethnic affairs advisor or board member. She has also alleged that inappropriate and "vulgar" telephone calls referred to her purchase of "transparent garments", and that his conduct was "unacceptable" and "unwanted".[24]

Prime Minister Key reiterated that there was no future for Worth within his Cabinet, and warned that suspension or expulsion from the National caucus was still a prospect. Worth resigned from Parliament on 12 June 2009 (effective 16 June 2009[25]), citing that his role as a Member of Parliament was compromised due to speculation and innuendo, and he wished to seek a new direction in international trade.[26] Choudary never produced any texts and Labour did not pursue the matter further.[27] After Worth's parliamentary resignation, Cam Calder took his place as the next eligible person on the current New Zealand National Party list[28]

In early July 2009 it was reported that the woman who made the original allegation to police had withdrawn her complaint and police dropped the matter.[29][30] In November 2009, police announced that Worth would not face charges.[31]

After Parliament[edit]

After his resignation, Worth returned to the bar, with his LinkedIn profile listing him as "barrister specialising in mediation and arbitration" and "company director".[32]

Shortly after he resigned, Monaco reappointed him honorary consul to New Zealand,[33] but New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully held up the appointment for more than a year and it was not until October 2010 that the position was finalised.[34][35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nathan Guy appointed as a Minister". Stuff.co.nz. 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  2. ^ Dr Richard Worth
  3. ^ "Captain R Worth OBE KSJ VRD* RNZNVR". navy.mil.nz. 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012. "Captain the Honourable Richard Worth OBE KSJ VRD* RNZNVR" 
  4. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 53528, 30 December 1993. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  5. ^ "London Gazette". London Gazette. 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  6. ^ Worth, Richard W. (2004). The closer economic relationship between Australia and New Zealand: choices other than quiescence or withdrawal in the face of conflict. Ph.D. thesis.
  7. ^ Votes for Registered Parties by Electorate, Chief Electoral Office, New Zealand Ministry of Justice. 2005.
  8. ^ Votes for Registered Parties by Electorate, Chief Electoral Office, New Zealand Ministry of Justice. 2008.
  9. ^ Watt, Emily (30 March 2009). "Questions on Worth's India trip". The Dominion Post. Archived from the original on 2009-03-31. 
  10. ^ "SIT, Worth at variance". 31 March 2009. 
  11. ^ "Key: No further action on Worth". 
  12. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0002/S00175.htm
  13. ^ "Richard Worth: Relationships Bill provides legal security for all couples - Opinion - NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. 7 December 2004. 
  14. ^ http://www.parliament.nz/mi-nz/pb/debates/debates/speeches/47HansS_20041209_00000979/worth-richard-civil-union-bill-%E2%80%94-procedure-third-reading
  15. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0412/S00130.htm
  16. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0412/S00066/civil-unions-campaign-rejects-worths-amendment.htm
  17. ^ http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/bill-resolve-land-status-issues-passes-first-reading
  18. ^ http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2008/0237/latest/whole.html
  19. ^ "PM's Statement on Richard Worth’s resignation". Scoop. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  20. ^ "Police statement on allegation against an MP". Scoop. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  21. ^ "Goff raised earlier complaint about Worth". Stuff.co.nz. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  22. ^ Gower, Patrick (3 June 2009). "Complaint against Worth made two weeks ago - police". The New Zealand Herald. 
  23. ^ Watkins, Tracy (6 June 2009). "Key knew of sex claims, says Goff". The Dominion Post. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. 
  24. ^ "Statement from Richard Worth's alleged victim". TV3. 4 June 2009. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. 
  25. ^ "Resignations — Dr Richard Worth, National". Hansard. 16 June 2009. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ Gower, Patrick (3 July 2009). "Sex allegation against Worth withdrawn". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  28. ^ "Nathan Guy appointed a Minister". Scoop. 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2010-07-11. 
  29. ^ "Complaint against Worth officially withdrawn". New Zealand Herald. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  30. ^ "Police drop case against former MP Worth - report". New Zealand Herald. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2009. 
  31. ^ "No charges after police end MP sex claim inquiry". New Zealand Herald. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  32. ^ Linked-in profile for Richard Worth (checked 26 April 2010)
  33. ^ Dickison, Michael (23 August 2011). "Rich and famous (and royalty) set for Rugby World Cup". nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 4 September 2011. "The consul for the Principality of Monaco in New Zealand, Richard Worth, yesterday declined to say what the prince's plans were." 
  34. ^ McCammon, Belinda (17 July 2011). "Disgraced politician pops up as our Monaco man". The Sunday Star-Times. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  35. ^ Trevett, Claire (18 July 2011). "Disgraced minister picked for envoy job". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 

External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Christine Fletcher
Member of Parliament for Epsom
1999 – 2005
Succeeded by
Rodney Hide
Political offices
Preceded by
Rick Barker
Minister of Internal Affairs
2008-2009
Succeeded by
Maurice Williamson (acting)
Nathan Guy
Preceded by
Judith Tizard
Minister Responsible for the National Library
2008-2009
Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand
2008-2009
Preceded by
David Parker
Minister of Land Information
2008-2009
Succeeded by
Maurice Williamson